Throughout Northeast Ohio, the use of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) techniques has become a more common and visible means of managing stormwa­ter runoff from developed land. The multiple benefits of GSI practices beyond wa­ter quality have been widely recognized in the region, and the Ohio Rainwater and Land Development Manual (ODNR, 2006) encourages the use of Low Impact Development and GSI techniques for post-construction run- off management.

When land development projects are proposed in the region, however, applicants and their engineers often propose conventional water quality ponds or underground detention/ infiltration systems instead of integrated, landscape-based methods of managing runoff. Water quality ponds and subsurface infiltration galleries are recognized and readily engineered means of meeting both water quality treatment and peak discharge (aka flood protection) detention objec­tives, with readily estimated construction and maintenance costs. However, these “all-in-one” methods do not yield the co-benefits that a surface green infrastructure approach can provide, such as reducing urban heat island effects (particularly from surface parking), adding tree canopy, contributing to placemaking and visual quality, and creating habitat. The question for greater implementation of GSI techniques is thus why – from a specific fi­nancial, permitting, or operational standpoint – these measures are selected as post-construction control measures over GSI options, and what policy and financial tools might shift these choices.

A report was commissioned by the Northeast Ohio Stormwater Training Council and funded by Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to assess the financial and operational decision-making around the choice of stormwater treatment practices for development and redevelop­ment in the region.

Download the full report here: Green Infrastructure Incentives for NE Ohio Communities.